Retail Transactions in Pakistan Surge to Rs. 134 Trillion

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Retail Transactions

Experience a substantial uptick in retail transactions as Pakistan sees a noteworthy 4.2% surge in volume and an impressive 22.4% increase in value during the first quarter of fiscal year 2024, concluding on September 30, 2023. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) quarterly report on Payment Systems has revealed these remarkable statistics, showcasing the vibrant growth in the nation’s retail payment landscape.

This comprehensive report unveils that 1.4 million Large Value Payments (LVPs) were seamlessly settled through Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), accumulating to a substantial volume of Rs. 199 trillion. Simultaneously, retail transactions facilitated by banks, Microfinance Banks (MFBs), and Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) during the quarter reached an impressive 702 million, marking a substantial value of nearly Rs. 134 trillion.

Breaking down the retail transactions, funds transfers took the lead at 37%, followed by cash withdrawals at 36%, purchases at Point of Sale (POS) & e-commerce platforms at 10%, bill payments & mobile top-ups at 7%, and cash/cheque deposits contributing 7%. The remaining 3% encompassed various other payment categories.

Digital channels witnessed the dominance of fund transfers in terms of volume, while traditional Over-the-Counter (OTC) transactions, especially cash/cheque deposits, retained prominence.

These transactions were made possible by the extensive payment networks provided by banks, MFBs, and EMIs, boasting 17,768 bank branches, 18,117 ATMs, 118,444 POS terminals, and 7,310 registered e-commerce merchants.

The report also casts a spotlight on the key advancements within the country’s payment ecosystem, offering a comprehensive overview of digital transactional activities. As of the quarter’s end, there were 17.0 million mobile banking users, 10.3 million internet banking users, 2.4 million e-wallet holders issued by EMIs, and 61.3 million m-wallet holders issued by BB service providers.

With 54.3 million payment cards issued, including 79% debit cards, 17% social welfare cards, and 4% credit cards, the share of digital payments in retail transactions of the banking system increased to 80% during the quarter, up from 74% in the same quarter of the previous year.

Despite the surge in digital transactions, the share of Over-the-Counter (OTC) transactions remained significant at 20% in retail transactions, constituting 87% of the total value. This indicates customers’ continued preference for the OTC channel, especially for higher-value transactions.

As the quarter concluded, 33 banks, 11 Microfinance Banks (MFBs), 4 Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), and 5 Payment Service Providers/System Operators (PSOs/PSPs) were actively offering payment services across the country. Additionally, the Real-Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) and Raast, an instant payment solution operated by SBP, further enrich the country’s payment infrastructure. Furthermore, 16 banks and MFBs extended their offerings to Branchless Banking (BB) services, enhancing the accessibility of financial services for a broader audience.

Also Read: Startup Funding in Pakistan Takes a Hit, Records $75.6 Million in 2023

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